The extreme right asserts its new strength in the French National Assembly | International

Marine Le Pen’s far-right slipped away on Thursday from the most coveted post in France’s National Assembly: the presidency of the strategic finance commission, which oversees budgets. The position, valid for one year, has been taken from him by Éric Cocquerel, a deputy from France Insoumise and a member of the left-wing alliance Nupes, who has celebrated his election as the first legislative victory of a chamber more fragmented than ever and without an absolute majority. A parliamentary puzzle that will force the president, Emmanuel Macron, to negotiate, text by text, each law or reform that he wants to carry out in his second term with the help of his prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, whom he has confirmed in his position despite to the legislative fiasco.

Up to three rounds of voting have been necessary to reach the result that Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) has hastened to denounce as a “maneuver” to prevent him from taking over the leadership of a commission traditionally reserved for the first opposition force. . A title that has been disputed, since the legislative elections in June, by the extreme right, which with its 89 deputies has won more deputies than ever before in its history, and the leftist alliance, which has 151 seats in the chamber, but is divided into several parliamentary groups (the largest, that of France Insumisa, only has 75 seats). In addition to its symbolism, chairing the Finance Commission allows access to information protected by tax secrecy.

Less than 24 hours before this fundamental vote, the same left-wing deputies who are now claiming victory had in turn denounced the election of two members of Le Pen’s party for two of the six vice-presidencies of the hemicycle as a new failure of the cordon sanitaire. To achieve this milestone in a Parliament where for decades the extreme right was practically irrelevant, they needed the support of the Macronist majority, which for its part has managed to impose former minister Yaël Braun-Pivet as the first female president in the history of the National Assembly , and the conservative Republicans (LR).

Macron’s party “has made the RN vote to facilitate the access of far-right deputies to the vice presidency of the National Assembly. The masks fall”, criticized the deputy and general secretary of the ecologists, Julien Bayou, the maneuver. The situation “illustrates the new National Assembly elected by the French (…) It is not our role to elect our opposition, but to enforce the will of the French,” replied the Macronist majority, which in total has 250 deputies (far from the 289 of the absolute majority).

Beyond the results, these first votes – with the inter-partisan voting alliances, accusations of breaking the traditional Republican front against the extreme right and the power struggles this week – are a first indication of how complicated it is going to be. having Macron govern in his second and last term without the cushion of the absolute majority of his first five years.

And the obstacles do not end at the doors of the Palais Bourbon, seat of the National Assembly. To the parliamentary battles are added the internal problems of a Government that, just over a month after its formation, is already preparing for a first remodeling.

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Macron stipulated that any minister who applied for a seat and did not achieve it had to resign, and this principle has caused the fall of three members of his cabinet: the Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourgignon, the head of Ecological Transition, Amélie de Montchalin, and the Secretary of State for the Sea, Justine Bénin, will have to leave their positions. On the tightrope is also the Minister of Solidarities, Autonomy and Disabilities, Damien Abad. This former conservative heavyweight has been accused by several women, through the press and anonymously, of sexual abuse or attempted rape. Until now, his boss, Borne, had refused to dismiss him, alleging that there was no legal process against her. But things could change quickly: the Paris Prosecutor’s Office announced on Wednesday the opening of an investigation after the presentation, on Monday, of a complaint of attempted rape in 2010 by an alleged victim of Abad.

The Prime Minister announced this Thursday through Agence France Presse that on July 6 she will make, before the National Assembly first and before the Senate later, her “general policy declaration”, in which she will present her roadmap for the next five years. By then, Borne should have already announced the recomposition of her cabinet.

What the prime minister has not yet revealed is whether, as the left demands, she will agree to submit to a vote of confidence in the National Assembly after her speech. A negative vote – which, after the loss of the absolute majority, is not impossible – would mean the resignation of the entire Government of her, including the first female head of government in three decades. His position had been in doubt after the fiasco in the legislative elections, but in an interview with the AFP agency last weekend, Macron assured that he had decided to “confirm his confidence in Borne” and entrust him with a “new government of action”, whose composition they would review together upon their return, this Thursday, from their international week of G7 summits, first in Germany and then NATO in Madrid. The work has only just begun.

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